Phil Angelides Meets Muslim Community in Sacramento
By Zaki Syed

 

Left to right: Phil Angelides, Hamza El Nakhal, Osama Hassoon and Rashid Ahmad

It used to be a dream. It was the American dream, of success, equality, and justice for all. The same dream that captured the imagination of all those who were living in the land of Pakistan, and every night they would dream of a place called America. Day by day, month-by-month, year-by-year they struggled, studied, and saved up very last penny that they had until they landed on US soil. For a couple years it seemed like heaven - better education, opportunities, and a vast array of jobs. Then that little heaven came to a screeching halt, as we watched our twin towers being leveled down by two airplanes.
9/11 brought many changes, and left many Pakistanis and Muslims surprised as they were unjustly blamed and discriminated in the aftermath of September 11. It was a time to stand up for one’s right, a chance to get involved and dispel stereotypes. Despite this, with the exception of a few, most of the Pakistanis/Muslims retreated back into their comfort zone and refused to come out.

With community members

“Our community always complains when there is discrimination,” said local businessman/activist Osama Hassoon, “However, when it is time to educate others or make them aware they (Pakistani/Muslim community) seem to shy away.”
Shying away is no longer an option. The few Muslims in the city of Sacramento realized this and decided to get involved. Muhammad Mohanna, prominent real estate developer and Board of trustee at UC Davis had this to say, “As new Americans … it is our duty and responsibility to participate in the political climate and make a difference”. With that resolve they stepped out and hosted a fundraiser for one of the decision makers: Phil Angelides.

Phil Angelides with loyal supporters (above) and Pakistan Link’s reporter (below)

Phil Angelides is the current treasurer for the State of California, and is running against Arnold Schwarzenegger for Governor. Phil Angelides got involved in politics so that he could give the immigrants a helping hand.
“He (Angelides) is a friend of immigrants, and we are all touched by his stand on immigration,” said local Pakistani community leader Rashid Ahmad. Angelides grew up in a household of immigrants. His father was from Greece, and his mother was born in Egypt.
“My mother became a citizen when I was ten years old,” said Angelides “She brought with her a richness of the culture.” Angelides says that Americans, immigrants and non-immigrants make up one another. Angelides is for the civil liberties of all Americans, and feels this is why the upcoming election is so important. “A lot of people are counting on us to win, people of all different places, races, and faiths are counting on us to win,” said Angelides. He also expressed his hope of contributing to the success of the Pakistani community and of having their support.
Phil Angelides is more than willing to take a stand in order to defend Pakistani/Muslim civil liberties. However, the more important question is: Are we as a community willing to work hard to achieve the true meaning of the American Dream? Unless we as a community get involved, the American Dream will be just what it means, a Dream.
A lot of people are counting on us, our children/grandchildren who will grow up in America, and the people we left behind in our homeland, the immigrants that continue to dream of coming to the US. We owe it to them, and we owe it to ourselves to get involved. So get active, vote, join political organizations, peace rallies, and do whatever it takes for Muslims/Pakistanis to have a voice in mainstream America.
Civil liberties and rights aren’t given away, they have to be earned. Fight for your rights!


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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